by David Atfield

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by David Atfield

From David Atfield, award-winning creator of Scandalous Boy, comes an explosive new play that looks at the post-marriage-equality political world and questions how welcome LGBTQIA+ people really are in the corridors of power.

Canberra today. As a debate rages over a proposed education program to teach children about sexuality, two male federal ministers are in fierce competition. But they both have secret lives that threaten to destroy their careers. When a handsome young staffer enters the scene their worlds descend into a whirlpool of hypocrisy, blackmail, deception and sexual intrigue.

When the Australian Prime Minister announces his intention to appoint a successor, ambitious minister Jasper believes he's the front runner, but he’s passed over for the older, more moderate, Michael. Jasper, married to the equally ambitious Jacinta, is having an affair with his young staffer Craig. Jasper convinces Craig to apply for a position in Michael’s office to seek out a scandal. Meanwhile Jacinta attempts to discover scandal by establishing a friendship with Michael’s wife, Caroline. Michael, whose marriage has become a non-sexual friendship, forms an attachment to Craig, and Craig begins to like this rather naïve middle-aged politician. Things get complicated as Jacinta discovers Jasper’s infidelity and Michael reveals personal secrets to Craig. Craig must now decide whether, for the sake of his lover Jasper, he can use these secrets to ruin Michael.

Exclusion is a sexy, funny, moving and wildly sensual play combining the complexities of human sexuality with ambitions for power. We see politicians stripped naked, literally and spiritually, as the characters betray, expose and manipulate each other, identities tumble, marriages fall and alliances break. The play is about the complex intersection of the personal and the political, woven into a universal story about the personal compromises we all make in the pursuit of our careers.

Diversity pledge: The Playwright encourages anyone producing and casting this work to consider performers from diverse backgrounds, including for roles where a character’s ethnic or cultural background, age, gender, sexuality or disability need not be specified.

This title appears in:

Canberra Critics' Circle Award (2019 winner)